Moose hair and birch bark. Those are 2 materials that we have not written about on this blog before. But now that we are working in the Artifact Lab on objects for all of our upcoming exhibitions and loans, we are seeing a wider variety of artifacts and materials in the lab.
This embroidered birch bark case will be installed in our Native American Voices gallery later this month, so it is in the lab for examination and treatment.
The 2-part case (the lid is a separate piece) was purchased by the museum in 1945. It is attributed to being Huron and from Canada.
The case itself is made of birch bark and it is embroidered with moose hair. The intricate details are difficult to appreciate without being able to see them up close. So, let’s take a closer look at the decoration:
The case and lid are edged with bundles of moose hair attached with thread:
As you can see in the image above, some of the threads attaching the moose hair bundles along the edges are missing, causing hairs to become lost. These areas, as well as splits in the birch bark, will have to be stabilized before this case can go on display.
Check back for post-treatment photos, and visit the museum to see this case on exhibit by the end of May.